Schon Horology: The Art of Watchmaking

Schon Horology: The Art of Watchmaking


One of my core design philosophies is that
objects should only get better with time. My name’s Ian Schon. I’m a mechanical engineer, product designer,
entrepreneur… I have a lot of different titles, but my current
fascination is in horology. Horology is the art and science of timekeeping. I got really into the science and the mechanical
engineering behind watches when I was in college. Just astounded by the fact that something
mechanical made of purely metal could run for a hundred years and keep really good time,
it was mind-boggling. Metal is really interesting for me because
it’s very human and it patinas and ages like us. It can be perfect but it can also be very
imperfect. I tend to leave a little bit of manufacturing
history and remnants from the process in the product to remind us that things are made
by people. Those things make it more valuable to us
because it reflects its life and its story. I started my career in product development. You know, nights and weekends, I’d run away
to my shop in my house and I’d start tinkering on the watches. It was this little escape where I could be
very intentional and introspective and uncompromising with design vision. I started off making watch cases. I purchased a mill and I had it in my house
and I could mill little circles. So I was like, alright, I’ll have milled
indices on the dial. And then from there, as my process evolved,
and as I expanded my manufacturing capabilities, eventually, you know, got to the point where
I wanted to go a little bit deeper and get a little bit involved in the mechanics of
watchmaking which is when I developed the running indicator. So the running indicator is a pseudo-complication
that I developed and it’s a small titanium disk. And essentially what it does is that it allows
me to move time, the running of seconds, to exactly where I want them aesthetically in
the watch. The irony of it is that it’s so many things
together and it’s so technical and so intense, yet it’s a really simple way to show that
the watch is running and alive and well. It’s a very slow animation. The running indicator definitely reflects
my current pace of life. I’ve slowed things down. I’m looking at how do I spend time in a
way that is meaningful to me. It’s this, like, marrying of what I can
do, what I want to do, because it’s all those things together. It’s just such a wonderful combination of
all the things I really enjoy doing. And it’s, I think, the first time in my
career that I’ve really given myself the time to just care about one thing and, you
know, spend so much energy making it perfect. And it just slows things down a little bit
and allows me to appreciate the process and the journey as much as the product.

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